by Michael Butler
If you know anything about cars, you'll have had a love affair with at least one Mercedes-Benz in your life; it could be a luxurious S-Class or a classic SL. Mercedes-Benz is an aspirational brand that has many an admirer drooling over models they can't afford, but the new A-Class is set to change that. Launched in the US for the 2019 model year, the A-Class takes the fight straight to its German contemporaries, such as the Audi A3 Sedan and even the BMW 2 Series Gran Coupe. Instead of focusing on delivering a sports-focused drive, the tiny Merc provides a luxurious experience on a budget, and looks and feels truly premium. With 188 horsepower, the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine under the hood isn't the most powerful, but it gets the job done, the main attraction is the gorgeous interior and exterior design and good ride quality. Starting at $31,805, the A-Class is a genuine Mercedes-Benz, on a budget.
The A-Class is the new kid on the block, well relatively new: it made its debut on American soil in 2019 and entered the new decade without any significant changes.
In the USA the Mercedes-Benz A-Class has a price that is relative to the competition with both the FWD and AWD cars coming in with an MSRP under $35,000. The base model car, which shares its 188 hp turbocharged engine and features with the AWD car, will cost you $32,800, excluding registration, tax, and a destination fee of $995. Going for the AWD version comes with a price increase of $2,000 for a grand total of $34,800. In comparison, the Audi A3 Sedan will set you back $33,300 in base form, and $39,500 in S line quattro Premium Plus 45 TFSI guise.
See trim levels and configurations:
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
|A220 4MATIC Sedan||
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Cars in the subcompact executive class are expected to be agile performers at the very least, and cars like the BMW 2 Series and Audi A3 bring their A-game. So can the A-Class stand up to its German rivals in terms of handling and driving capability? The answer is a resounding yes. Get behind the wheel of a 2020 A-Class, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the way it remains composed over almost all road surfaces barring low-speed cobblestones and the like. We did notice that the lighter front-wheel-drive model performed better over rough surfaces than the heavier AWD car. When pushing through the corners, the A-Class offers poised performance, and keeps body roll to a minimum, especially when fitted with the lowered AMG Line suspension package. Adjustable adaptive damping is also available for those that are serious about their ride quality. Steering is responsive and precise, and the overall experience is entertaining when the need arises, and comfortable overall.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The Mercedes-Benz A-Class is arguably one of the best looking cars in this segment, and, thanks to the backing of the three-pointed star, should make big waves in the competitive subcompact executive class. While it might not be the fastest car amongst its peers, its turbocharged 2.0-liter with 188 hp pulls the A-Class along with confidence and should be enough for most. Where the A-Class truly shines is behind the wheel, it offers sharp and precise handling with minimum body roll while maintaining good comfort. The interior of the A-Class is one of the best in the class, but rivals such as the Audi A3 Sedan offers more trunk space. In terms of safety and features, the A-Class comes with most of the luxury features you'd expect from a car in this class, including driver attention assist and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The options list is a long one and can raise the price of the car substantially. Overall, the A-Class is a beautifully packaged machine that takes the fight right to the top.
The 2020 A-Class is a good deal in any configuration, but if it were up to us, we'd go for the 4MATIC version that offers more stability thanks to its AWD system. The A220 4MATIC gets the same 188 hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine as found in the standard A220 and shares the same list of standard features as well. If we were to be the ones doing the buying, we'd get one in Mountain Grey Metallic with 18-inch five-spoke wheels with black accents, and the $3,000 AMG Line with Night exterior styling package. On the inside, we would specify the black leather seats with the standard aluminum trim. Extra packages we'd go for is the Premium package for its larger 10.25-inch screens and the Driver Assistance Package for its array of driver assistance features. With all these boxes ticked, you're looking at an asking price of $46,150.
|Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan||188 hp||24/35 mpg||$33,950|
|Mercedes-Benz C-Class Sedan||255 hp||25/36 mpg||$44,850|
|Audi A3 Sedan||201 hp||27/35 mpg||$35,400|
The ever-popular C-Class is the best it has ever been, especially after last year's update that saw the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine under the hood get a power bump to 255 hp and 273 lb-ft of torque. The C-Class competes in a class that is expected to be everything to everyone, and despite this pressure, the C-Class gets it right. Available in RWD and AWD guise, the C-Class will return 24/35/28 mpg city/highway/combined in RWD configuration, and 23/33/26 mpg in AWD form. Compared to the A-Class, the C-Class' power delivery is way more pronounced, which makes sense when you consider the 67 hp power gap, and on the road, it feels just as planted, but not as pointy. As with the A-Class, the interior is beautifully designed and put together, and there's a good level of standard features and safety gear. What we don't like is the high base price, small trunk, and the fact that its competitors offer a better driving experience. If you need the extra space and power, get the C-Class, but we like the look and drive of the A-Class better.
It might be the cheapest Audi on sale in the United States, but the Audi A3 Sedan sure does deliver the goods. From the outside in, the A3 feels like a premium product worth much more than its base asking price of $33,300. Under the hood of the A3 lies a similar turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 184 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque in FWD 40 TFSI form, which gets a bump to 228 hp and 258 lb-ft in AWD 45 TFSI form. Fuel consumption comes in at 27/36/30 mpg for the FWD, and 22/30/25 mpg for the quattro version. As with the A-Class, the A3's compact design lends itself to entertaining handling, and the overall driving experience is on par with the Merc. The A3 is built with care and precision, and it's tangible on the inside, where the choice of materials is top-class, as is the level of standard safety gear. Unfortunately, the current A3 is set to be replaced for next year, but that means you'll be able to scoop a current model up for a steal. Get in the Audi if you're after a bit more fun.
The most popular competitors of 2020 Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan: